A new study confirms what Italians have already known for years: the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.
Research regarding its benefits was published in the British medical journal Gut.
THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET HELPS HEALTHY AGING
According to a group of scientists (including Italian researchers from the University of Bologna), following the Mediterranean diet for twelve months can improve brain function and promote longevity. The diet also helps older people age healthily. The study analyzed 612 elderly people (65 to 79-year-olds) from Europe (France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom). Among the subjects, 323 were on a special diet for a year, which demanded they eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, olive oil, fish, and very moderate amounts of red meat, sugar, and saturated fats. “Findings support the feasibility of modulating the gut’s microbiota by changing diets, which in turn has the potential to promote healthier aging," authors of the study told CNN. These findings participate in a body of scholarship that has identified the Mediterranean diet as a promoter of heart health, metabolic health, mental health, and longevity.
WHAT IS THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET?
The Mediterranean diet is more than just a way of eating — it’s a lifestyle. Its tenets involve the traditions of the Mediterranean’s coastal countries, such as Italy. This diet is more plant-based more than meat based, encouraging a high intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and olive oil. The Mediterranean diet encourages a weekly intake of fish, white meats, beans, and eggs, with less frequent intake of dairy products. Red meats should be eaten in moderation. The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, memory loss, dementia, depression, and cancer, while improving bone and heart health. It is also linked to weight loss.